What’s the best way to ensure your investment in new proposal software pays off? Think through what will help your personnel become familiar with a new tool and use the software to help them do their jobs easier and faster. It is important to involve them in the transition and learning process. When people are actively engaged, that’s when they figure out how to use the software effectively.
Too often we see clients who don’t allocate the time or resources to get past the initial activities in their software implementation plan . This typically includes installing and configuring the bidding software. It also includes getting the software up and running for an initial proposal project to work through setting up core data, integrating the new tool with other business systems, and determining the best configuration options to align with the business environment. Frequently, there is a single person or a small team that is working through the implementation process so there is limited exposure of the new estimate software to other personnel. It is easy to declare victory because it is a tangible point for measuring progress.
In reality, the initial implementation activities are just the beginning. Getting other users to appreciate the benefits of using a basis of estimate software and gain proficiency requires additional effort. User acceptance doesn’t magically happen all by itself.
Here are some tips to help ensure users become proficient with a new proposal software tool.
Tip 1: Ensure you have allocated sufficient time and resources to get past the initial implementation activities.
What’s sufficient time and resources? The classic response is “it depends.” Questions to ask to help you quantify this include:
Tip 2: Training is most effective when people learn to use proposal writing software to perform their usual proposal tasks.
The intent is to combine learning how to use the basis of estimate software following your preferred proposal process. Organize the training topics into process areas or sequence of tasks the proposal teams would normally follow to develop their cost estimates.
For example, a common initial task for a new proposal project is to establish the work breakdown structure (WBS) as the foundation for developing the cost estimate. In BOEMax proposal software , there are a number of ways to accomplish this. The proposal teams can parse a source document from the customer, create a copy from a WBS template and tailor it to their needs, or import it from a schedule tool or from an Excel file. Along with hands-on training for the proposal teams using the software, provide a work instruction that illustrates how to create the WBS with use notes that may apply. For example, perhaps your process requires the proposal teams to include specific WBS user defined attribute fields or use a specific coding scheme.
Consider breaking the learning sessions into small modules that focus on completing specific proposal development activities and how using the software helps them do their job. That way you can do short, focused training sessions that limit disruption of normal day-to-day activities. Incorporating the work instructions as part of the learning process is helpful because the users can refer to them at any time. That way they can make sure they are selecting the right options and become proficient on how to use the different functions in the software.
Tip 3: Create other user assists that save time and effort as well as help proposal teams create quality data.
This is where bidding software tools can make a difference and simplify life for the proposal teams. For example, in BOEMax proposal software, you can create a library of common processes complete with a list of tasks along with resource labor hours and material requirements. Proposal teams can easily copy the process library tasks as a basis to create and substantiate their estimates. They can also search other projects for common tasks they can copy and use to develop their basis of estimate.
You can also establish common source data imported from your corporate systems all proposal teams can use as a foundation such as a master parts or assembly list complete with manufacturer, unit of measure, and unit price details. Proposal teams can quickly create bills of materials for their project from these master lists and easily determine part or assembly pricing using credible source data.
Other things to consider setting up that saves time every time proposal teams create a new project include:
Be sure to include time in the proposal software implementation plan to create the applicable user assists that make it easier and faster for proposal teams to create data driven cost estimates.
Does your software implementation plan include user acceptance activities? ProjStream can help you work through your process, training, and work instruction requirements, as well as help you set up user assists to simplify life for your proposal teams. Give us a call today to schedule a proposal software demo .
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